The first five recipients of Surf Coast Shire Council’s COVID-19 Recovery Assistance program have been announced.
Funding is part of Council’s $1 million COVID-19 support package allocated in the 2020-21 Budget to support businesses and communities during the recovery phase (in addition to $718,000 already dedicated to communities and businesses within the shire).
Council adopted COVID-19 Recovery Assistance Guidelines in May, outlining how businesses and communities will be supported through recovery, and how the recovery initiatives will be assessed.
The first five recipients are:
Deans Marsh Primary School – Farm Gate Art project: building welcoming entrances, gateways and letterboxes in Deans Marsh (a series of willow weaving and ceramic tile making workshops led by local artists Veronica Phillips and Sandra Hickford will run across three months);
Torquay Food Aid providing food and essentials for locals in need;
Ellie Cheesman Films – Cooked (a short COVID-19 documentary highlighting 2020 through the eyes of Surf Coast and South Australian kids aged between 3 – 20 years) supported by Art of the Minds;
ANGAIR (Anglesea, Aireys Inlet Society for the protection of Flora and Fauna) – creating a digital wildflower and nature show; and
Anglesea Leaders Community Forum – convening the leaders of Anglesea’s key clubs and groups in a facilitated digital forum to discuss strategies and recovery plans.
Cr Tony Revell said Council established a Rapid Response category for applications up to $5,000, when the COVID-19 Recovery Assistance funding program opened on 25 June 2020.
“Council allocated $50,000 for the Rapid Response grants. An assessment panel made up of four officers is assessing applications weekly against the guideline’s funding criteria,” Cr Revell said.
“It’s great to see so many local community projects amongst the successful applicants. Rapid Response allows Council to provide speedy support to businesses and community groups impacted by the pandemic, so they can deliver lasting solutions.”
Cr Margot Smith said ANGAIR’s wildflower show is a massive event for flora and fauna lovers throughout the Surf Coast and beyond and was “really pleased” the grant allows the event to go ahead via an online platform.
“Through the Rapid Response grant ANGAIR is able to ensure the community can enjoy something they’ve supported and participated in for a half-century,” Cr Smith said.
“The flower show represents the beginning of spring and in trying times, it’s great that the beauty found in wildflowers and the art show can be shared by all via a new digital platform.”
Peter Forster, ANGAIR’s secretary said this year would’ve been the wildflower and art show’s 50th consecutive year and thanks to the grant they’re still able to celebrate the milestone anniversary.
“At one point we thought that it was all over. The grant has allowed us to build a new website capable of hosting webinars, storing photos, provide activities, share YouTube videos and run this year’s event,” Mr Forster said.
“We’re opening up the photography competition beyond the Surf Coast so people can be involved from a distance, pupils from Anglesea Primary School will be contributing their art created from home, and we’re offering a virtual tour of the show.”
“We obviously didn’t plan for a pandemic but this is a pretty important anniversary for us and it means a lot that we’re still able to celebrate it virtually.”
As the community continues to navigate their way through Stage 3 restrictions and looks to the future, Cr Clive Goldsworthy said Council has been “inundated” with grant enquiries and applications.
“It’s about helping the community achieve their aspirations throughout the shire in the wake of COVID-19. The Farm Gate Art project is a fantastic way to brighten various entrances throughout Deans Marsh and inspire residents to get involved through skill sharing and friendship,” Cr Goldsworthy said.
The assessment panel will continue to assess grant applications weekly, and support a variety of recovery initiatives happening throughout the Surf Coast shire.